Eagles Droppings 5/19: Eagles Interested in Pitts, OTAs Start, Sign DT and More
By Lance Epstein
Eagles Interested In OL Pitts:
According to a Sirius Satellite radio interview with guard Chester Pitts, the Philadelphia Eagles are one of many teams interested in acquiring the free agent.
Last year, Pitts saw his season end in week 2 after he suffered a severe knee injury, which forced the Texans to place him on injured reserve. In fact, his knee problem was very similar to Eagles defensive end Victor Abiamiri considering both were required to have microfracture surgery in the offseason.
"I originally took three trips – Detroit, San Fran and Seattle – and they’re all actually still in the mix, and then Philly and Minnesota actually called last week and said, ‘If you’re ready on the 15th [of July], we’re going to work you out and we have a place for you," Pitts said. "For me, I’m 85 percent, I’m pushing at 90 but I don’t like to say I’m at 90 because I’m not quite there yet. But I’ll be 100 percent in probably six weeks. So I have about a two-week cushion to get it as healthy and get as strong as I can get it."
Before his injury, Pitts was one of the most durable offensive linemen in the league. The former 2002 second-round pick had an impressive streak of 113 consecutive starts.
One of the biggest weaknesses for the Eagles in 2009 was the interior offensive line, which is still a major concerns heading into this season. This offseason, the club did not make any moves to upgrade either the guard or center position. In addition, center Jamaal Jackson is not going to be back for the start of the season and starting right guard Nick Cole is expected to fill the void at center.
This leaves Max Jean-Gilles and Stacy Andrews battling it out for the starting right guard job. Unfortunately, neither should be counted to be starters. Andrews has not shown that he has fully recovered from his torn ACL sustain in 2008, which also prevented him from starting a single game in 2009. As for Jean-Gilles, he is coming off a gastric band surgery and was clearly outmatched against Dallas in the team's final two games of the season.
Even though Pitts (6-4, 308) will be 31 years old to begin the season, he allows the Eagles to have more flexibility along the offensive line and is a nice insurance policy incase Andrews turns out to be a bust again.
Today selected veterans and rookies arrived for the club’s organized team activities (OTAs).
Some of the more notable veterans that are participating at the OTA are starting SAM linebacker Moise Fokou, linebacker Joe Mays, defensive backs Macho Harris, Marlin Jackson, Geoff Pope, Quintin Demps, offensive linemen Max Jean-Gilles, King Dunlap, Fenuki Tupou, Greg Isdaner and A.Q. Shipley.
Other veterans like tight ends Martin Rucker and Cornelius Ingram, wide receiver Jordan Norwood, defensive tackle Antonio Dixon and defensive end Alex Hall are also practicing as well.
The OTA will end tomorrow, but the Eagles have another OTA scheduled for May 24-27. At the OTA, players will have 90-minute practice session. The major thing to come out of this camp is that the coaches will be implementing the nuances of each position.
Eagles Sign DT Robinson:
Earlier this week, reports surfaced that the Eagles had signed undrafted rookie free agent defensive tackle Boo Robinson. On Tuesday, the Eagles officially announced that they signed Robinson to a three-year contract.
Robinson (6-1, 295) was a three-year starter at Wake Forrest, where he registered 145 tackles and 12.5 sacks over his career. In his junior season, he earned him All-ACC honorable mention as he recorded six sacks.
While Robinson is probably only a practice squad candidate, it is very telling about what the Eagles think about their defensive tackles. At the end of last season, the Cowboys manhandled Mike Patterson and Brodrick Bunkley.
In order for the Eagles to become an elite defense like they did in 2008, the depth at DT and the play must significantly improve. Otherwise, the Eagles are going to be forced to draft a defensive tackle in the first-round in the 2011 draft.
McDermott Must Use Camouflage:
This past week in a recent media event, defensive coordinator Sean McDermott told reporters that he will have to disguise what exactly the defense is doing and "camouflage and confuse," Redskins quarterback Donovan McNabb.
If there is any quarterback in the league that knows the ins and outs of the Eagles defense it is the former Eagle, who was part of the organization for over a decade.
However, McDermott says he has a solid game plan to attack McNabb, which requires the defensive line to keep their hands up.
"Donovan gets a lot of balls tipped at the line of scrimmage, and I know that . . . We're going to put our hands up."
It should be interesting to see how the Eagles attack the weaknesses of McNabb, which the team knows all too well. Still it is going to be a big challenge to change up the formations and looks for McDermott especially since McNabb practice against the scheme for 11 years.